Back in 1961, The Dick Van Dyke Show became an instant smash success on American television, and the second season, in 1962-63, gave us a show even stronger in all departments - acting, writing and directing.
This five-disc set presents all 33 episodes of Season Two. Presented en-masse like this, the episodes have to be carefully rationed to prevent them becoming repetitive. But in their original ration of 30 minutes a week, it's easy to see why The Dick Van Dyke Show set sitcom standards unmatched 'til only recently, when along came Seinfeld.
There's not a weakness in the cast. Here is the same gang again, with Dick Van Dyke as Rob Petrie and Mary Tyler Moore as his wife Laura. In this season, a bit more space is given to their son, played by Larry Mathews, and to their neighbours, played by Ann Morgan Gilbert and Jerry Paris. Jerry went on to become one of the key Dick Van Dyke Show directors.
And back at the office, Rose Marie's Sally and Morey Amsterdam's Buddy continued their scriptwriting chores, with the occasional but always welcome presence of their so-called 'superior', Richard Deacon - best remembered as the irascible neighbour in another classic sitcom, Leave it to Beaver.
As with the first set, this DVD package has been compiled with love. The quality and range of the extras is exceptional for a package of this vintage. The show is the key, but the extras add a little bit of knowledge and a great deal of warmth and fun.
Both Season One and Two sets deserve to do well in the marketplace. This is a quality presentation, commemorating what was an outstanding achievement in its time by the show's creator and key writer, Carl Reiner.
As director John Rich noted when receiving an Emmy for the show, Carl was "an authentic genius". That's so much better than the counterfeit kind - and there's nothing counterfeit about The Dick Van Dyke Show.
The quality seen in the DVD presentation of Season One continues with this second set.
There has obviously been a huge effort to find the best possible elements for this DVD presentation. The black and white image is perfect vintage television. It doesn't come better than this. I don't think we ever saw this show presented in better quality. It's not the highest film quality, of course, but for presentation of archival television material this set deserves an award all its own.
Sound is occasionally muffled in some of the archival footage used in the extras. But the episodes themselves are presented in exceptionally clear, genuine monophonic sound.
There is no distortion present; everything is clear and distinct, to allow maximum appreciation of these great old scripts.
If you have the first series, go ahead and get this set as well - it's sharper-focused and better directed, and really hitting its stride. Or rent it for four or five weeks, it'll take that long to progress through it at a rate which will provide entertainment and maintain your sanity at the same time.